LEARNING TO DRIVE

September 16, 2020 –

One of life’s keystones is getting your driver’s license. When you turned sixteen, you could obtain a permit to drive. Most of the kids I knew got their license soon after their 16th birthday.  I wasn’t an exception.

My mother went with me to get a driver’s license handbook, and I soon learned the signs — stop, slow down, right and left turn, school zone, etc. Again, my mother drove me to the highway patrol station to take the test. Before testing me, the officer asked me to read the letters on the room’s eye chart. To my surprise, I couldn’t read any of them. The test ended there, and my mother set up an appointment with an optometrist.

The optometrist determined I needed glasses. No, I thought, cool guys, don’t wear glasses. When I returned to the optometrist’s office and fitted my glasses, a newly visible world opened; I could see what I had missed. Soon I discovered I could read the titles of the books on the bottom shelves in the bookstore without bending down.

I returned to the exam center at the highway patrol center and passed the written part of my test. Now it was time to learn to drive. It was during this time I learned my mother had patience and wisdom.

Learning to drive a stick-shift car wasn’t easy. Mother preserved. She told me hundreds of times, “slow down.” The three best pieces of driving advice she provided were: 1. If you’re in an accident, don’t leave the accident scene 2. Always pull over and stop when a police officer signals you to do so. 3. As you drive, keep the center of the front hood aligned with the edge of the road, and you know you’re in your driving lane.

Once I saw and applied my mother’s advice, I passed the driver’s test and got my learner’s permit. I never enjoyed wearing eyeglasses.